It's funny how each game in this streak has had its peculiarities. We don't win the same way twice...we just win. The big story today was that in a game where our major players were universally sub-par, our support staff collectively stood up and took the game for us. If you had come to me before the game and said Brandon Roy, Lamarcus Aldridge, Martell Webster, and Travis Outlaw would go a collective 13-52 I would have told you we'd be in big trouble. But the game was seldom in doubt mostly because we played team ball. We worked harder than Seattle, remained unselfish even when the pressure was on, kept them from being dominant on the boards, and most importantly of all never, ever turned the ball over. That last one, by the way, has been a hallmark of our wins lately. This is especially impressive considering it was one of the major questions facing the team coming into the season and a malady that often plagues young teams. It's not rocket science: when you take care of the ball, communicate, trust each other, and hustle you can overcome the tough offensive nights that come and go in this league. Right now we're doing that as well as anybody. Durant didn't really go off, we held them way, way, WAY below 100, Seattle just couldn't do enough to beat us. Save for taking a few too many jumpers we played exactly the game we needed to play against them.
The ESPN guys were all over Nate's doing a great job and at this point I think the truth of that is self-evident. During the last three weeks almost every time I've thought, "We need to play this kind of game to hurt these guys" we've come out and played exactly that kind of game. And the few times we haven't evidently I've been wrong, not Nate. He has this team playing at an incredible level. Sometimes I wonder if our natural enthusiasm for the team (i.e. "Of course they're doing well... they're the BLAZERS!) makes us miss some of the awesomeness that's going on here. This team did not have to do this. In fact it's very unlikely that the could go 11 straight games without making a slip big enough to cause them to lose. 11 games...no nights without effort, no botched game plans, no giving up. A lot of the credit there has to go to the coach.
--Other than saying that on one of his crappiest games of the year Brandon Roy still got 17 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds we're going to leave the main guys alone tonight. It was just one of those games where shots were rattling in and out. There wasn't anything wrong with them. It was just not their night.
--It was Jarrett Jack's night. For a while there it seemed like he would be the only one outside of Brandon to remember that the Seattle defense will let you use the lane. Watching Jack split a double team and/or foil a defensive rotation is a thing of beauty right now and nobody else on this team does it the same way. Jarrett was the champion of the White Unit today and put us in position to take this game.
--Sergio Rodriguez had a wonderful game. Some will remember the abomination of a shot that he put up near the end of the first half but forget that. It was like someone forgetting to put a period at the end of an otherwise marvelous paragraph. He made some great passes out there and brought energy and desire. This guy is starting to come up the right way again and if some space ahead of him in the rotation opens up I think you'll see him get a shot at some minutes now. Obviously nothing will be messed with when we're winning like this but I wouldn't be surprised to see Sergio get some run this spring.
--Steve Blake did what he does best...prove a reliable outlet when Options 1-3 are covered. When he's on he's the guy who sticks a pick in the crack of the defensive ice and opens it up for everybody else. We can still perform without him but it's so much easier when he's a threat.
--If Joel Przybilla didn't look so much like a big bottle of ketchup today I would have kissed him. Talk about your silent contributors. The guy slammed the Sonics for 16 rebounds in 28 minutes. Seattle never tested our interior defense so he didn't get the chance to make as big of an impact as we're used to, but come on...16 rebounds on a night when you're kind of a bit piece otherwise is remarkable. Standing ovation for Joel. Again.
--His Royal Fryeness picked his spots, hit his shots, made some passes, and kicked some...well, he did just dandy out there. He seems more comfortable with every passing game. He doesn't look lost, he's starting to fight for boards...way to come around! We so desperately need another big man out there right now. Channing is finally looking like he could help.
--James Jones missed a couple shots tonight but as is his wont he helped us in other ways: defense, rebounding, cutting and moving. Is it a coincidence that all of this winning came when he started playing regularly? Probably not.
One-Sentence Game Summary
The White Unit was our gallant White Knight riding to the rescue tonight.